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David Letterman to Retire in 2015

David Letterman will retire in 2015. Mike Mills, the bassist for REM, just broke the news on Twitter. REM is tonight's Late Show musical guest, so the news must have come during taping. CNN's Brian Stelter confirmed the news shortly after.

I'm not surprised by this news, as Letterman can now call it a career knowing that he outlasted Jay Leno, his longtime late-night rival. Letterman created Late Show at CBS after losing out to Leno for The Tonight Show.

So who replaces Letterman as host of Late Show? With NBC and ABC going young with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, it would be hard to see CBS put its late-night future in the hands of Craig Ferguson, regardless of how great of a host he is over at The Late Late Show. Could this be Conan O'Brien's way back to network TV? O'Brien and Letterman have long bonded over their shared history of getting screwed over by Leno.

UPDATE: O'Brien's contract with TBS is up in November 2015, according to The New York Times. Back in March 2013, when reports starting coming out that NBC was going to retire Leno and replace him with Fallon, I made several late-night TV predictions, including correctly guessing that NBC would pick Seth Meyers to replace Fallon at Late Night and that the network would use the Olympics to promote Fallon's Tonight Show debut. Back then, both Letterman and O'Brien had contracts that ended in 2014, so I predicted Letterman would retire and O'Brien would replace him. Maybe I was just off by a year …

UPDATE II: Here's the statement from Letterman's people on his retirement:

"The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance. And I phoned him just before the program, and I said 'Leslie, it's been great, you've been great, and the network has been great, but I'm retiring,'" said Letterman. 
"I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much. What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married. We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down — I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up."
David Letterman to Retire in 2015 Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 4/03/2014 Rating: 5

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